From January 1 2008, BirdLife Denmark is carrying out a nature protection project that focuses on European song birds that overwinter in Ghana in West Africa. The project will continue on for a period of at least 10 years primarily in the areas Tono and Damongo. 

A large part of Danish migratory birds are declining for no apparent reason. This may have several possible explanations: climate change, destructions of habitats at the breeding areas and in the winter quarters, threats on the migratory route, etc. BirdLife Denmark’s ringing and point counting projects tell us that the decline is gravest among the species that overwinter in the areas south of the Sahara. These species are for instance icterine warbler, garden warbler, wood warbler, willow warbler, pied flycatcher and redstart.

The knowledge about these birds’ winter quarters is very small. We hardly know where the birds are actually staying, which biotopes they prefer, what the feed on, which other species they are competing with, and when they arrive at and leave the winter quarters. This knowledge is essential in the planning of a focused effort to put a stop to the decline in migratory birds that migrate to Africa.

The aim of the Migratory Bird Programme is to create awareness of the living conditions of migratory birds on their migratory routes and in their winter quarters in Africa, to provide knowledge about the conditions in Ghana, and hopefully to improve the conditions in Denmark.

The project is carried out in collaboration with Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) – a BirdLife International partner. The work includes monitoring of the European migratory birds in Ghana through ringing and counting as well as nature restoration and protection. An important part of the project is to gather a number of BirdLife Denmark members, who are interested in following the activities and working voluntarily either in Denmark or on trips to Ghana. Another essential task is to train local GWS members in the activities mentioned.

The work will ensure greater insight into the primary wintering habitats of the Danish birds, so that the nature protection effort can be targeted at given habitats and geographical areas. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with other BirdLife International partners, who are already engaged in West Africa, as well as the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Museum of National History.

It is expected that the collected data about birds, biotopes, threats, and climatic conditions can provide the knowledge needed to effectively put a stop to the decline of migratory birds.

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